Harry Potter


The Tales of Beedle The Bard is a book that plays a significant part in the last installment of the Harry Potter series. It’s a collection of five wizarding fairy tales. In this publication of them, J.K. Rowling has also included commentary by the late Hogwarts headmaster Albus Dumbledore. 

This is a short book (I read it in Books A Million when I was early to work one day–I work next door at Kmart). When I finished it, I was sad all over again about the end of the Harry Potter series, which have meant a lot to me. Anyway, this book is a must-read for all fans. I loved this glimpse into the wizarding world! The fairy tales themselves are just good stories, too, standing alone, and Albus Dumbledore’s commentary was, as expected, insightful and interesting. I doubt this one really needs a detailed review, because, hello, it’s J.K. Rowling, so I just wanted to profess my love for this book and say, it rocks. Plus, proceeds go to charity–how awesome is that?!?!

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I have books that I immensely enjoyed, and am in continuing awe of the skill of their authors. I have books that fall into only one of those two categories (I appreciate how well done they are, or I loved reading them). I have books that I think everyone should read because everyone will love them. I have books that I appreciate because of what they have to say about society. And so on.

This is why the question of “favorite” books is so difficult for me. I tend to mix it up, with books that I appreciate for different reasons. Today, I want to talk about another category: books that are personally, emotionally important to me for some reason or another. There are numerous books here, but today I want to talk about what I would say are, hands down, the most important books to me. And that would be the Harry Potter series.

It might sound silly, but these books have been with me since I was a small child. Whenever my gaze happens to fall on the bit of my bookshelves that holds the seven volumes (plus Quidditch Through The Ages and Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them), I am enormously sad that there will be no more (The Tales of Beedle The Bard‘s upcoming release does a bit to relieve that, though), but still happy in a nostalgic sort of way. To me, each book is not just linked to the wonderful stories inside, or to the characters that became friends (or dreadful enemies or incredible annoyances, depending on the character, the point is that they all became much more real to me than fictional characters)–these books are linked to parts of my life.

The first three books remind me of the part of my life when I first stepped out of my shell a bit. I was very intensely shy as a child, and the time when I first made friends (rather than my mother making them for me) was around the same part of my life that I first discovered the Harry Potter series through my third grade teacher. And what did my friends and I do? We talked about Harry Potter and pretended we went to Hogwarts! This time in my life was my first step towards independence, towards being my own person, in lots of ways that I didn’t even begin to realize then. But now, when I look at those books, I am reminded of it, and of who I was then.

And so on for books four through seven. These books mean a lot to me, as you can tell, to the point where, though I realize they’re far from perfect, and can even point out a few criticisms (one word: camping), I find it incredibly difficult to be objectively critical of the series. Except the epilogue, which was kind of awful.

What is it for you? The author or book or series that you love so much, for some reason or another, that it is simply above and beyond feelings for any other book?

You may have read my review of KITTY GOES CALIFORNIAN. It’s a great book, but maybe you don’t have a big book-buying budget. Well, you can read it for free online! Go! Read! I appear to be the only one to ever have reviewed this marvelous little book, but that doesn’t mean the rest of you can’t read it! Come on, it’s great, it’s a good summer read, and it’s free!

Here‘s a great summary of HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS in haiku form! **SPOILERS**

An interesting interview by The Disco Mermaids of four fifteen year old girls about their reading.

Here’s some distressing news: those big comfy chairs in your favorite bookstore? They may soon be gone.

Here’s a nice article that might answer some of the questions you were left with after the ending of HP 7. **SPOILER ALERT** (obviously)

Chances are, I’ll be posting something later with my full opinions on the book, spoilers and all (but you’ll be warned first!). For, now, though:

It made me laugh. It made me cry. It made me want to just grab Harry by the shoulders and SHAKE him.

And now it’s over. I loved it. There were points when I was angry at Rowling for the fates of certain characters, but the fact that I cared so much is only a testament to her remarkable talent at creating characters I could care so deeply about.

I stayed up all night to read it. Had I not read the epilogue, I would have been able to say, “I was not disappointed.” If you haven’t read it yet, just skip the epilogue. It’s kind of terrible. Until then, though, it’s probably my favorite book of the series.

And now, it’s really, truly, over. Never again will millions of people dress up in costumes and line up at midnight for an a book. It was great. But now it’s over. Not to say I won’t reread the books (in fact I reread book six on Sunday), but it will never be the same.

I’m one of those who have pretty much grown up with Harry. And now, it’s over. Thanks, Ms Rowling, for making his last adventure an amazing one (minus the epilogue).

My favorite quote: “After all this time?” “Always.” (Which you won’t get unless you’ve read the book so it’s not a spoiler).

Update: My Shelfari review. It says basically the same thing as this blog post but is longer and as such goes into more detail. Still spoiler-free.

(It’s posted on a blog I’ve created to make up for WordPress’s lack of a “cut” feature like that of LJ. It’s not a real blog, just a place to put stuff.)

As some of you may have heard, there has been a breach in Harry Potter security. According to various sources (I just searched on Google News and read some articles), some books were shipped out early to readers. Supposedly some of the seventh book has ended up online, although it is unclear as to whether or not it’s real. Apparently one newspaper also posted an early review which gives away the meaning of “deathly hallows,” along with some other bits of information THAT SHOULD BE SECRET!

As much as I might be a bit tempted to see how it ends, I would rather wait until Saturday to find out after reading the whole thing, and I am very disappointed that some people have tried to ruin that. I talked to a friend who accidentally read part of what is supposedly book seven when browsing through a friend’s wall on facebook.

I don’t want to know yet unless the whole book shows up on my doorstep (which, it won’t, because I didn’t preorder one, but reserved one for the midnight party at the local bookstore). My internet activity is going to be pretty limited for the next few days to make sure I don’t accidentally read something I don’t want to, and I talked to one friend who is refusing to go online at all until she’s read the whole thing!

You know I love the Harry Potter books. I don’t think JK Rowling is the greatest writer ever, but she does a great job with the wonderfully complex and exciting plot of the Harry Potter books.

The movies, however, are another story. I have seen all of them within the first week. It was not, however, until the fourth one that I learned to really like them.

They are nothing like the books. Of course, they have to cut a lot of stuff out to fit these books into 150-minute movies, but I often disagree with their editing decisions, not in the least because I have friends who have not read the books, only seen the movies, and there are parts that they don’t understand because of it. One friend who I saw the fifth movie with didn’t understand about banning Weasley products because it was not fully explained what the Weasley twins had been doing.

However, once you stop comparing them to the books (but keep in mind what you already know about the story as it will fill in the gaps nicely), the movies are really quite good. The action and special effects are exciting. The casting was done fairly well, and the actors do their parts nicely (I was especially pleased with Luna Lovegood in the fifth movie!).

Strictly as movies, they’re pretty good (if maybe a bit confusing). Compared to the books, however….Not quite so much. What do you think?

As I’ve been rereading the books, I’ve been thinking about the various characters, both those that I love and those I love to hate. Here are a few thoughts.

Harry Potter: Yes, I know he’s the protagonist. I’m supposed to love him. He’s the hero, after all. However, I’ve always found him to be kind of annoying. He’s stupid and whiny. Especially in book five (although they didn’t show that as much in the movie). I love JK Rowling, but I hate Harry Potter.

Fred & George Weasley: These two are pretty much interchangeable. They are not real characters; just comic relief. They say funny things, but are not developed as actual people. I love them anyway, I just wish we knew them better!

Lee Jordan: Here’s another one I wish we saw more of. I’ve always enjoyed what little bit of him is in the books (his quidditch commentaries are hilarious!), but he’s barely there. More Lee Jordan would be nice!

Luna Lovegood: She’s good for a bit of comic relief, too, but she’s also a real character, or more real than Fred and George, at least. I quite enjoy her eccentricity!

Sirius Black: I was a bit teary when he died. He’s always been one of the more interesting characters, that’s for sure. Actually, that whole generation seems more interesting than the current one (Lily, James, Sirius, etc.). I’d like to see a prequel about them, but I don’t think that’s going to happen. Anyway, Sirius has always been a favorite of mine. He is much more interesting than many of the main characters, and I don’t really think whiny Harry deserves him as a godfather.

Dumbledore: I know it’s a bit blasphemous these days, but I’m not a big Dumbledore fan. Sure, he was a great wizard and all, but not the greatest guy ever. Especially in the more recent books, he kind of bothered me. I can’t put my finger on why. But I wasn’t too upset when he died (I don’t think that’s a spoiler anymore with book seven so close).

That’s it for now. Anyone care to share their own thoughts about the characters?

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